Rachelle Gardner's blog post espousing the idea that self publishing will, in some perverse approach to logic, harm readers(!) smacks of desperation and fear. Aaron Polson's blog post pretty well captured my feelings on the subject, but it warrants further analysis that a well-respected agent would make such asinine comments.
She titled the post "What About the Readers?"--as though the publishing industry is somehow sacrosanct and that the poor idiot consumers would somehow be overwhelmed by the self-publishing trend.
Thank God that agents, publishers and editors have been funnelling me content all these years! I would have been lost in the woods without them--probably reading rubbish from the small presses.
Hey, wait a minute...that's exactly what I've been doing anyway.
No Koontz, Steele, Patterson or Brown for me. I've never read a word of the story of a chick who kicked a hornet's nest, but I've read loads of work from Subterranean Press, PM Press, Cemetery Dance, and Night Shade Books.
But back to her post. Honestly, how will readers make choices?
How will readers sleep at night knowing that there are writers out there whose stories were written for personal (gasp!) commercial benefit?
How will readers soldier through their days knowing that writers are (gasp!) developing audiences outside of traditional channels?
Writers should have a foot in both worlds, in my view. Literary agents offer access to markets and possibilities that just don't exist in the same quantities for self-published writers. I firmly believe that. Hell, I swapped e-mails with my literary agent just last night. Bernadette and I are going to get some good work out there soon, and I value her input in everything I write. I have a couple of irons in various fires with traditional NYC publishers; if something comes through, she's the person that will maximize our opportunities.
But in the long term (and most rational agents and editors agree with this; they are already adapting their own business models to adjust to the marketplace), the internet is a viable publishing channel that puts the most valuable commodity of a free market--choice--directly into the hands of the consumer.
In our field, we call those consumers readers. And there is no reason for the hand-wringing about them, to be honest, because they know what they want!
Look, I'm not a fan of that silly phony krab meat, but I'm not offended that it's there in the seafood department. I just don't buy it...
But somebody sure as hell does, because it's always there.
I'm not a huge fan of that cheap yellow mustard.
But somebody sure as hell is, because there are gallons of the stuff on the shelves.
Oh, and good for you, Neal Pollack. I'm buying your book...